Savannah, Brunswick port operations remove hazard potential in various communities

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsSAVANNAH, Ga. — Last weeks Multi-Agency Strike Force Operation in the Georgia ports of Savannah and Brunswick resulted in 107 containerized cargo inspections, 263 vehicle inspections and 371 Transportation Identification Worker Credential checks, according to the initial reports from the 13 teams involved.

The operation brought together eight different agencies with more than 80 personnel at Savannah’s Garden City, Ocean and East Coast terminals as well as Brunswick’s Colonel’s Island and Mayor’s Point facilities.

A primary goal for the agencies participating in the operation was to protect the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement of both the public and commerce. That freedom of movement is the reason public safety authorities conduct routine vehicle and equipment inspections, credential verifications and ensure the safety of both hazardous material and non hazardous shipments. The combined efforts of these agencies identified and resolved 75 vehicle and equipment violations, resulting in 12 being placed out of service; 12 TWIC and license issues were discovered with three citations issued and seven credentials seized; and three shipment deficiencies were discovered and corrected. Each violation detected or discrepancy corrected removed the potential for a hazardous situation on the local highways, railways and waterways as these shipments move through the community.

“This operation was another example of the strong teamwork and cooperation that exists with the interagency partners in Savannah,” said Lisa Beth Brown, Customs and Border Protection area port director and member of the unified command. “It was another opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships.”

The leadership for this operation was coordinated through a unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, CBP, and the Transportation Security Administration and capitalized on the existing relationships between the local Department of Homeland Security agency representatives.

At each of the 11 field locations, combined teams shared their agencies’ concerns and practices for conducting inspections. Additionally, the National Cargo Bureau and the Coast Guard boarded two container vessels at Garden City Terminal to conduct cargo spot checks and share examination procedures for ensuring shipments were packaged and stowed securely. The NCB crew provided Coast Guard personnel with field training concerning the differences between blocking and bracing for over-the-road shipments compared to vessel cargo and how to minimize the potential for load shifts during ocean voyages.

“Partnership is the key – the ability to operate at the local, state and federal levels without hesitation and in sync is no doubt a model for (all of) the Department of Homeland Security,” said Gerry Phelan, the Transportation Security Administration’s federal security director for Savannah. “A significant benefit comes from the inter-agency contacts that inevitably develop during a MASFO. These contacts become invaluable for conducting future comprehensive and efficient operations.”

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